Clay tools work well for scraping, incising, and gouging into encaustic wax.
This post has been in draft for awhile, I was finally spurred on to finish it when this week someone on Facebook asked, “What’s the most used tool you recommend investing in? I am new to this and wondering what type sculpting tools to get”.
My Favourite Go-To Tools
Here are a few of my favourite tools for scraping and incising into the wax.
1. Dual head metal pottery scraping tool
My go-to scrapper is one from a pottery course I took years ago. The tool is eleven years old and has been well loved. I recently replaced it, I had no idea how dull it had become. I have 5 new, shiny, and sharp tools.
You can buy this tool from any pottery supply store or order it online here
2. P1 V-tip Zebrawood Pencil Carver
For incising this is the best tool I’ve found.
The V-shaped tip of the Pencil Carver glides effortlessly through warm wax leaving clean narrow incised lines—no burs! Zebratools are sharp, and the blades are self-sharpening. The carvers are constructed of hand-made exotic zebrawood handles and designed to be ergonomic.
You can read my full review of this carving tool here.
3. Sculpture House Encaustic Loop Tool
This loop tool is another one of my most used tools for encaustic painting. Hand-made with a carbon steel blade, it is quite sharp, very sturdy, and well-made.
You can order it online here
4. Jack Richeson Double Ended Scraping Tool
This is an excellent scraper for fine details and for picking those annoying brush hairs out of the wax.
5. Dreamweaver Embossing Paste Spreader
This thin flat metal spreader is another one of my favourite tools. I was introduced to it by Christina Lovisa at an Ontario Mixed Media Encaustic workshop.
I leave the paste spreader sitting on the side of my griddle so it is always warm when I want to use it. I wipe it off with a paper towel before each use.
- I drag the warm spreader across the surface of the wax to scrape off thin layers of wax – I don’t use this for gouging. You can use this as you would a razor blade. I like that it is larger than a razor blade. As long as it is warm it will take off a nice thin layer of wax.
- It also works well to push collage items down flat into the wax and
- When using stencils in encaustic painting, I scrape across the surface with this tool before lifting the stencil from the wax.
6. Razor Blade with holder
A razor blade holder will make it easier to use a razor blade to scrape off thin layers of encaustic medium. I have a metal holder but I prefer these light-weight ones.
7. Sculpture House Freedom Straight Encaustic Scraper
Sculpture House sent me a Freedom Straight Encaustic Scraper to review. This had been on my shopping wish list for awhile. I’m thrilled to have it now in my encaustic toolbox 🙂
This tool is so well made. It is very sharp and sturdy. No worry that it will bend out of shape. It is larger than any of my other scraping tools so it is the one I’ll reach for when working on larger paintings. I stand it up on the edge of my griddle to warm it up and then I wipe it off with a paper towel. It works well to remove a very thin layer of wax to help even out the surface.
What’s your must-have tool?
Do you have another must-have scraping or incising tool that I haven’t mentioned? Please add a comment below.
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10 thoughts on “Essential Tools for Scraping & Incising into encaustic wax”
I bought the V tip zebra wood pencil based on your earlier post, Ruth. It’s excellent and leaves no burrs. Thanks for the recommendations.
You’re welcome Marge!
The two tools I use the most are the loop tool and an old fashioned awl to make fine lines. I’m interested to try the V tip zebra wood tool, thanks for the recommendation.
Thanks for commenting Cynthia and for adding the awl to the list. 🙂
Great tools, Thanks Ruth.
P1 V tip zebrawood tool.
I got this from an Irish website.
Really really does leave no burrs – I was amazed.
Best to use on warm wax cos if you leave it to cool the tip moves upwards instead of incising.
Careful no to lose the little washers that help keep the nuts tightened (like I did!)
What Irish web site can I order the zebra incising tool??? Thanks
I think this must be where Jac bought it from https://www.scarva.com/en/DiamondCore-Tools-V-Tip-Zebrawood-Pencil-Carver/m-5828.aspx
Dreamweaver embossing paste spreader available for UK waxers on Amazon – £4.56 postage free.
Thanks for the really useful tips.
I couldn’t find my pottery trimming tools (which is weird because I was a pottery for 40 years !) so my husband made a carving tool for me out of an old hacksaw blade. He bent it to be the shape roughly of the angled pottery tools and attatched it to a piece of tiny pvc pipe. Worked well. It had one toothed side and one plain side.